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Australia arrive in Jaipur amidst tight security

cricket Updated: Sep 25, 2008 00:20 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
Hindustan Times
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It is four in the evening, the Australian cricket team is scheduled to check in to the Rajputana Sheraton in a few hours and the security staff at the hotel is going through its final briefing.

The instructions are clear - absolutely no one, except guests, should be allowed in to the hotel — and the guards are expected to carry out the orders without any slip-ups.

Security is an unprecedented high in Jaipur. The high-intensity blast at the Marriott in Islamabad on Saturday has put the Rajasthan Police on high alert, and with the Australians starting their Indian tour from here - they play a team from the Rajasthan Cricket Academy — the pressure on the authorities to have an incident-free start to the tour is massive.

There is a policeman almost everywhere you go — at markets, at traffic signals, and obviously, at the team hotel.

“This is a very, very important time for us,” says Shikar Singh, a guard at the entrance of the hotel.

“Did you see what happened in Pakistan the other day? Someone rammed a truck full of explosives into the Marriott! We will take no chances, everyone will be checked,” Singh says very firmly.

While Singh and his colleagues man the entrances, police cars swarm the area outside the hotel.

The Rajasthan Cricket Association, together with the state police, has left no stone unturned to ensure there are no security threats while the Australian team is in the city.

"We have given our full support to the Rajasthan police," says RCA media manager, Narender Joshi. "Only hotel guests will be allowed entry as long as the players are there," Joshi adds.

"Apart from the police, the RCA also hired a private security agency, which will be in charge of security right throughout the week."

The Australians have their own team of advisers, including Reg Dickason, who gives inputs on security and related issues.